Dog Days Of Summer Start Early | KCUR

Dog Days Of Summer Start Early

Jul 5, 2012

Daily highs have hovered at or near the 100 degree mark for more than a week.   The sweaty days are expected will continue through the weekend.  The heat can be dangerous, but many people are finding ways to avoid the high temperatures.

Dan Hawblitzel is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.  He says a heat wave like this would be expected in late July or early August.

“But to begin in June is uncommonly early. This is something that we haven’t seen really since about 1980,” said Hawelitzel.

While many people are sticking in doors to stay cool, the birds don’t seem to think it’s too hot outside.  Redwing blackbirds and starlings flit to and from a bird feeder at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center.  Bill Graham works there.  He’s standing outside watching the birds and describes the weather like this.

“Well it’s hot, hot, dry, hot and drier.”  

Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke

Nancy Bach, my neighbor, has been trying to tidy up her landscaping for the past month or two.  About a week ago, she went outside one morning to mow.  Bach thought she was doing everything right. 

She took breaks and was drinking water but it wasn’t enough.

“I was feeling really sick, nauseated.  I was dizzy is the best way to put it,” said Bach.

She came inside, turned on the air and a fan, but said despite the heat she was cold.  She fell asleep for four hours.  She woke up still red in the face and feeling worn out. 

When she went to work the next morning, she Googled the symptoms and realized she may have had the beginning of a heat stroke.

“Everything it kept telling me,” said Bach, “I should have called 911, so I’m very fortunate.”   

Jeff Hershberger is with the Kansas City Missouri Health Department.  He said children, the elderly, and people with medical conditions are at the highest risk of getting heat stroke or exhaustion, but anyone can suffer.

“The thing is everyone is at risk whenever it gets this hot out.  Anyone who is spending time outside,” said Hershberger.

Hershberger said the best thing to do besides drinking water is to stay somewhere cool. 

Chilling Out

One popular place to escape the heat is  the pool.  Cindy Campbell is in charge of the Roeland Parks Aquatic Center

In her line of business, sweltering days are a good thing.

“My attitude is the hotter the better,” said Campbell, “the hotter it is the more people we have coming to the pool, and it’s a good place to cool off.”

If the pool’s not your scene, but you still need a place to avoid the heat, experts say call 211The United Way has a list of cooling centers. 

One of the places, they might refer you is a library. Kasey Riley is the communications manager for the Johnson County Library.  She says the Johnson County branches get more traffic on hot days.

“We do see people come in and spend as much as eight hours at a time.  In those cases, we generally assume it has to do with getting into a cool environment and getting out of the heat,” said Riley

Riley notes there’s a lot to do in eight hours at a library--watch videos, surf  the internet, or read a book. 

At the Cedar Roe Library in Roeland Park, Amber has a bag of kids book at her side.  She and her daughter Piper are in an special area with blocks, puzzles and other for  pre-schoolers.    Amber holds up a book with a giant spider on the cover and Piper describes the spider

“It’s pretty yucky.  He’s got legs on it,” said Piper.

Amber  says Piper gets restless staying inside and their normal favorite spot the park, it’s too hot.

“And so we really like coming here.  We get a few books and she gets to play with other kids, so we love it,” said Piper.

She says there’s an added benefit.  Piper, who’s just about to turn four, is already starting to read. 

Pets Need To Beat The Heat Too

Whitney Mathis works at Spay and Neuter Kansas City and says pets face a special challenge.

“And they’re pretty much wearing a fur coat,” said Mathis.

Pet owners should follow the same basic precautions they’d use for themselves.  Keep cats and dogs out of the heat as much as possible and make sure they have plenty of cool water.    

Mathis says she likes to do something special for her pets—doggie ice cream.  She blends peanut butter, carob, and water together and puts freezes it in an ice cube tray. 

They absolutely love it.  My cat even likes the peanut butter one,” said Mathis.

Unfortunately, the early dog days of summer will stick around a little longer.  The high pressure system that’s causing the scorching temperatures is expected to just sit over the Midwest until at least early next week.